Gregory Porter has had a true blossoming of his career lately and his album ‘Liquid Spirit’ was received with open arms by music lovers. It is still performing strong and Porter is winning fans across the globe with his soulful vocals.
The latest cut released from the album is ‘Water Under Bridges’ featuring Mercury nominated Laura Mvula. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Laura Mvula’s solo output and have seen Gregory perform on television leaving an impression. This seemed like a perfect match and I was excited to hear but, do the odds stack in the favour of the pairings?
The track begins with a brief opening moving to a Bill Withers vibe of an acoustic guitar mirrored with a Rhodes/Wurlitzer piano. Gregory begins to sing over the palette, a hushed tale about lost love and pressing on. As the song progresses a swirling organ joins shifting the song towards Gospel, a continuation of The Soul Stirrers in my mind. To avoid any more comparisons though I’ll press on. The drums create a 90s RnB feel but they are played with brushes, so it feels more like a chugging train.
Unfortunately the song however leaves you feeling unsavoury. The production at times seemingly delicate and natural, is tightly controlled and processed. At points you can hear the frankly unnecessary pitch correction snapping to the grid and it really distracts. Boggling the mind I am sure the original vocal was great if left unhampered with the production gloss. The song still presents other moments of saccharine though. The ending part where Gregory sings ‘Hey Laura’ is highly unnecessary, and hilarious because 1) it sounds like he is calling Lauren, 2) Laura never responds to Gregory making you feel like she is cold, and 3) this is where this production abuse is most noticeable.
Overall, the combination at times shows glimmers of brilliance, but this track as a whole definitely does not. If you are a fan of Gospel soul and this style of music, it might fit well with your tastes although even then I would be inclined to think again. It’s a shame as I said before, I am a huge Laura fan and truly hoped this combination would lead to something spectacular. Perhaps on the next Mvula album they will team up together again with a better offering as there is so much potential.
Thanks to Doug at PR – Please do check out Gregory Porter’s official site, and Laura Mvula’s Official Site